Saturday 22 Dec** [Note new date!!] | Leaving from IFP at 12 pm, back sometime in the afternoon (possible also to join us in the park)
The Fengshen Bang, a classical text from the Ming Dynasty, tells the story of a horse, a donkey, an ox and a deer meditating together in a cave in the forest while the tyrant King Zhou of Shang wreaks havoc on the land. The unlikely troupe decides to enter society as humans, whereupon they transform themselves into one super-animal combining the abilities and body parts of each. Galloping to the Kunlun Mountains to obtain the Primeval Lord of Heaven’s blessing, this hybrid creature – the milu, or Père David’s Deer – then joins nobleman Jiang Ziya to overthrow the king and found the Zhou Dynasty.
By other accounts, wild milu roam the swampy grasslands of South-eastern China for two million years before they are hunted more or less to oblivion, a thousand years ago. Just one captive herd remain then behind the walls of Beijing’s Nanyuan Imperial Hunting Garden, until floods and starving humans take care of them too, leaving the species teetering at the edge of extinction. After a few more curious twists of fate, these days milu can be found thriving in the very same garden, now known as Milu Park (also home to the ‘World Extinct Wildlife Cemetery’). Could the milu be a symbol for those pockets of refugia in which unlike species can flourish in dark times?
Join the Extinction Club Reading Group on a day trip to visit the milu and the monument to extinct wildlife. We’ll read for them some new poetry by Australian poet Aden Rolfe, and drink hot tea.
Wear warm clothes & bring binoculars if you can! / Please RSVP via wechat or by emailing.